When I opened my laptop this morning, I was greeted by the *NaNoWriMo website and word tracker. Said tracker hasn’t been updated since November 23rd. So, writing an average minimum of 1,700 words a day during the month of November, came to an end for me last week.
A year ago on this day, I was quietly celebrating my success. I’d written every day in November and had exceeded the 50,000-word goal for the month. This year, I barely broke ten-thousand words. A decent start for a genre I’ve never really attempted before. But a far cry from the goal I had set for myself.
I’ve been playing with ideas for a domestic thriller for a couple years. Jotting down paragraphs every few months or recording aha moments as voice memos on my iPhone – those usually come to me when I’m out walking my dogs. Funny how fresh air opens the mind and allows room for new ideas to move in and grow.
As I wrote toward my 2021 NaNoWriMo goal, the story took shape, plot holes filled themselves in and my characters came to life. So, the story is far from dead; it’s just beginning. And I’m okay with that. It will give me something new and exciting to work on through the winter.
A year ago, if I had stopped writing in November or missed my goal, I would’ve beaten myself up. Told myself I had failed and should’ve worked harder. This year, I’ve given myself grace. Afterall, I worked as hard as I was able. There’s a lot going on in my world right now, and a hard focus on storytelling wasn’t the escape I thought it would be. My heart and mind have been distracted by issues in my personal life and changes in my professional world.
Some days are a lot harder than others. Honestly, if I remember to brush my teeth and wear matching socks, it’s a successful day. Life is a journey, with unexpected detours and long stretches of construction. November was one of those detours. Today is December first. A good day to smooth out the wrinkles in that roadmap and figure out how to get back on course. The new year is just a few weeks down the road and I want to be ready for the journey ahead.
As I navigate the year ahead, I hope I continue to give myself permission to fail, fall down and try again. 2022 isn’t going to be easy, but it will be manageable if I remember to take it easy on myself.
*NaNoWriMo is an annual novel writing challenge. Writers across the globe challenge themselves to write a minimum of 50,000 words during the month of November.